Writing Letters of Recommendation - Pace University
It uses a nickname without first introducing the student’s legal name
The letter is typed on plain, white paper instead of letterhead
The letter is missing the writer’s signature and/or contact information
It lacks the appropriate evaluation form indicating the student’s intention regarding the confidentiality status of the letter
The letter contains unsupported, over-enthusiastic or generic endorsements, instead of offering useful, balanced and
Although less frequent, the following occurrences are also problematic, as they can also negatively impact a student’s
candidacy. This is the case when letters:
Concentrate on the writer and/or the class taught, with only a brief reference to the student
Consist of only one sentence or one paragraph simply confirming the completion of a class and the grade earned by the
Disclose the student’s personal circumstances, especially in relation to illnesses or disability, without authorization
Lack clarity regarding the nature of the relationship between the writer and the student (e.g. personal, academic, or
Are typed but signed in pencil
Are illegible — due to poor handwriting or the medium used (pencil, gel pen, etc.)
Are stained due to food, beverage, cigarette
Evaluate both the student and his/her spouse or partner in one letter
Focus on personal information about the letter writer such as personal lifestyle, aspirations, or political views
SAMPLE LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
The following is a general “template” to follow in organizing the content of your letter.
The writer should explain the relationship between herself/himself and the candidate as well as why the letter is being written.
For example: Bill Jones completed his student teaching under my supervision. I am pleased to be able to provide a letter
recommending him for a position as a teacher.
The writer may want to describe the type of experience, length, and time period during which he/she worked with the
candidate. The writer may also wish to describe any special assignments or responsibilities that the candidate completed.
The body of the recommendation should provide specific information about the candidate. Information may include:
Personal characteristics such as poise, confidence, dependability, patience, creativity, etc.
Specific areas of strength or special experiences. The candidate may have some exceptional strengths such as a very
high energy level or excellent communication skills. A candidate may also have a specific area of knowledge or
experience such as a strong background in science, an undergraduate degree in another area or related work
experience in education, a research project, coaching, extracurricular activities, etc.
The closing of the letter should briefly summarize previous points and clearly state that you recommend the candidate for the
position, graduate program or opportunity they are seeking. The recommendation letter should be written in language that is
straightforward and to the point. Avoid using jargon or language that is too general or effusive.
Writing Letters of Recommendation - Pace University PDF
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